When Lyndell “Mack” Wilson puts on the No. 3 uniform for the Alabama Crimson Tide this fall, it’s going to mean more to him than just a number on his dream school’s jersey. He’s going to be honoring a fallen friend.
One of Wilson’s good friends, Rod Scott, a basketball player at Lee High School (Montgomery, Ala.), died in a car accident earlier this month. Scott wore the No. 3 for Lee.
Wilson, a five-star linebacker from Carver High School (Montgomery, Ala.) will have Scott’s number on his chest when he puts on the Crimson Tide jersey he’s dreamed of wearing his entire life.
“It’s going to be really special for me,” Wilson told SEC Country. “Every time I look at that No. 3, I’m always going to think about him. Every time I get in the car, the seatbelt makes me think about him because if he would have had it on, he would not be dead. I’m going to do everything I can when I wear that No. 3.”
The nation’s No. 2 outside linebacker in the Class of 2016 is counting down the days until Alabama plays Southern California in the season opener Sept. 3. When he runs out of the tunnel at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas for that first game, Wilson knows a lot will be on his mind.
“I’m probably going to get a little emotional. I’m just going to go out there and ball for him,” Wilson said.
However, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has some work to do in order to see the field for the start of fall practice.
Wilson learned on Wednesday that his labrum was torn and had been since he was in the 10th grade. The Alabama signee attended practice that day and received a consultation from Crimson Tide orthopedic consultant Lyle Cain, who told him that his labrum was in fact torn.
The Alabama signee will have an MRI on April 4 and undergo surgery the following day. He said the recovery process is expected to last three to four months. If everything goes as planned recovery-wise, Wilson should be ready by the start of the season.
Miss you boy. ? pic.twitter.com/S64MG70j0J
— RestEasy3 (@Iam__MW3) March 19, 2016
The following is a question-and-answer session conducted with Wilson in the fifth edition of our Alabama recruiting rewind series.
Q: What does it mean to you to officially be a part of the Alabama program?
Wilson: It means everything to me. I have a lot more growing up to do. I have to live up to being that Alabama player. I can’t be making anymore silly mistakes that I made in high school.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out your labrum was torn?
Wilson: I knew something had to be going on because it’s been messed up since the 10th grade. My trainer had told me my labrum was torn, but he told me to wait until I got to Alabama to make sure and everything would be free. I just played through it in high school.
Q: Can you describe the pain of playing through a torn labrum?
Wilson: It’s a lot of pain, especially if you hit someone the wrong way or if you overextend it. It burns a lot. Some people may not be able to take the pain, but I just dealt with it and go right back in there.
Q: Are there any plays that stick out to you where you were in so much pain because of it?
Wilson: At the Mississippi-Alabama all-star game, I tackled someone around the first play of the game. I kind of overextended it and hurt it really bad.
Other Alabama recruiting rewinds:
- Jared Mayden says some coaches called Nick Saban ‘Nick Satan’
- Quinnen Williams on why he signed with Alabama over his childhood dream school, Auburn
- Nigel Knott explains why he was disappointed with his father’s alma mater
- Joshua Jacobs says one SEC school talked down on Alabama after he committed
Q: Georgia came in second for you. Could the Bulldogs have done anything to gain your commitment?
Wilson: No. I just knew Alabama was the school for me.
Q:. What was the most creative thing a school or coach did to get your attention?
Wilson: Georgia made my nametag on my visit by using my Under Armour picture. It was pretty neat. I was like ‘this thing is nice.’ I wanted to keep it forever, but I’m going to Alabama. It’s probably somewhere around my room.
Q: When you did the dab with Coach Saban, did you need to convince him?
Wilson: No he was really cool with it. He was asking me ‘so, I did a good job with it, didn’t I?’ I was telling him, ‘yeah, coach, you nailed it!’
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Saban?
Wilson: Coach Saban is like a father figure to me. He’s one of those guys that everyone sees as a business person and always serious. Once you get to know him and you’re playing on his team, you get closer to him. I feel like he’s one of the greatest head coaches to ever live. He’s a cool guy, overall. I can talk to him about anything.
Q: Which coach was it the hardest to say you weren’t going to his school?
Wilson: (Georgia) coach (Kirby) Smart. He’s been one of those guys that recruited me since the ninth grade. I was really close with him. He was my dude. It was kind of sad telling him I was going to the University of Alabama. He told me that he was going to be there for me no matter what. We had a long heart-to-heart conversation.
Q: How long did you know Alabama was the school you were going to attend?
Wilson: Like a day or two before signing day.
— RestEasy3 (@Iam__MW3) March 18, 2016
Q: Which college would you have considered more seriously if they had offered you earlier in the process?
Wilson: Clemson. I didn’t know what kind of program they had. I never really got a chance to talk to Coach (Dabo) Swinney. I never really thought about them, but I wish I had a chance to check them out and gave them a shot.
Q: You named Florida your leader for a while throughout your recruitment. Were you actually considering the Gators? A lot of people believed your interest in Florida was not genuine.
Wilson: They were one of those teams that I thought about playing for when I was younger. I gave them a chance, but it didn’t go well at the end. I had to go with my heart.
Q: You were supposed to take an official visit to Florida the final weekend before signing day. You had said something before about it having to do with your mother’s blessing. What happened?
Wilson: Coach (Jim) McElwain never really reached out to my mother. She wasn’t too comfortable with me going there. What people didn’t know is that I stayed with my godfather. (McElwain) never did a home visit at my mom’s. She never really got to know Florida. It was only the things I told her about the school.
Q: Do you have regrets about how that all unfolded with Florida?
Wilson: Kind of because I really wanted to see what they had to offer me on that trip.
Y'all thought I was gone leave the crib ? pic.twitter.com/NQBjifWBLs
— RestEasy3 (@Iam__MW3) February 3, 2016
Q: If you were in charge of the NCAA, what’s the one rule you would change with recruiting?
Wilson: The coaches should be able to contact the players no matter what. It gives coaches and the players more time to consider options.
Q: What are your goals when you get to Alabama for your first year?
Wilson: I want to become one of the top student-athletes off the field. On the field, I want to become an SEC freshman All-American.
Q: What’s your message for the Alabama fans out there?
Wilson: Roll Tide Roll. Do it for Rod.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Chris Kirschner covers Alabama football recruiting for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play in Bryant-Denny.